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Tourism

South Carolina National Heritage Corridor

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Few places in America are endowed with enchanting and diverse gems as those found along the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor. This 240-mile route travels through 14 counties along the state’s western border linking heritage, history lifestyles, and more. Bound at one end by massive Palmetto Trees dotting the Carolina coast and the other by whispering pines lining mountainsides, the corridor is the perfect setting for exploring such rich traditions with a visit to an Edgefield County Museum.

With charming downtowns, fine southern cuisine, and historical landmarks abound, Edgefield County has a touch of it all. With every encompassed town in the county adorned with first-class historical museums, visitors can enjoy a day filled with interactive experiences, which bring the heritage of this area to life.

Edgefield County Peach Museum

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Noted as The Peach Capital of the World, Edgefield County is rich in both agriculture and history. Discover the remarkable history of the cultivation of peaches on the Ridge in South Carolina by visiting the Peach Museum in Johnston. Not only will you enjoy a stimulating and educational interpretation of the industry, but you will also be able to purchase real peach preserves. During the peach growing season, from the blooming of the trees to the picking of peaches (March - August), you can head out into Edgefield’s spectacular countryside to explore the sights and visit a myriad of colorful roadside peach and vegetable stands. For more information, please call (803) 275-0010 or visit www.edgefieldcountychamber.org.

Freshwater Coast Regional Discovery Center

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The Freshwater Coast Regional Discovery Center of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor is located in the heart of Edgefield’s historic district. The 6,000 square foot museum is filled with the stories and history of the landscape and people of Abbeville, Edgefield, McCormick and Greenwood counties.

The exhibits help you explore Revolutionary War battles fought in the region including the first American Revolutionary War Battle ever fought, the South’s Secession, Civil War skirmishes, and the fall of the Confederacy with the location of the last War Cabinet meeting only one county away. In addition, many artifacts have been donated to the museum by generous local family members, including weaponry from the Civil War and Old Edgefield pottery pieces.

The gift shop is full of local artists, palmetto items, and unique gifts for that special someone. For more information, please call (803) 637-1237 or visit www.sc-heritagecorridor.org.

Historic Oakley Park

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Historic Oakley Park was built in 1835 by Daniel Byrd, a Virginian who came to Edgefield and became a very successful cotton planter. The beautiful mansion later was the home of Gen. Martin Witherspoon Gary, a fiery Confederate politician and father of the Red Shirt movement that assured the election of Wade Hampton as governor in 1876. Items in the house include an original red shirt and a carpetbag. For more information, please call (803) 637-4027 or visit http://south-carolina-plantations. com/edgefield/oakley-park.html.

Biddle Hall

This museum covers the history of Bettis Academy and Junior College from its founding (1881) through its closing in 1952. Biddle Hall offers an overview of the school’s founding, leadership, campus life, curricula, community, religious involvement, and its overall impact on the surrounding area. This museum also captures a bit of recent and present activities taking place since the start (1995) of restoration, preservation and tourism. For more information, please call (803) 649-7709.

NWTF Winchester Museum: A Must for Hunters and Wildlife Lovers

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For an exciting and interactive experience with one of North America’s greatest conservation success stories, the restoration of the wild turkey, look no further than the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, S.C. For more than a decade, the Winchester Museum has entertained and educated tens of thousands of guests as they learn about the comeback of the wild turkey.

The Winchester Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to wild turkey restoration, wildlife management, and hunting. A tour of this state-of-the-art learning center begins with a look at the role of the wild turkey in Native American culture. Visitors will learn how Native Americans across the continent used turkey feathers and bones for religious ceremonies and tools, and adorned pottery with turkey themes. One of the Winchester Museum’s most prized artifacts is a two-piece wing bone turkey call that dates back to 2,000 B.C.

Vivid, life-like taxidermy displays showcase the five subspecies of wild turkeys that are found across the continent, including the Eastern, Rio Grande, Merriam’s, Osceola, and Gould’s. You’ll also see how a baby turkey (called a poult) matures to adulthood, as well as the differences between female turkeys (called hens) and male turkeys (known as gobblers or toms).

At the Winchester Museum, you’ll also learn how state and federal wildlife agencies use rocket nets to help trap and transfer wild turkeys to areas of suitable habitat. Using these methods, wild turkey populations have soared from only 30,000 birds in the early 20th century to more than seven million today! Such efforts are the heart of the NWTF’s mission. For more than 35 years, the NWTF has supported conservation and helped preserve our hunting heritage, thanks to its numerous partners and volunteers. To date, the NWTF and its cooperators have spent more than $279 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving more than 13.9 million acres of wildlife habitat.

As you tour the award-winning museum, you can take a simulated ride with wildlife biologists in a retired helicopter donated by the USDA Forest Service as you learn about the importance of prescribed fire in our ecosystems. In another display, one-of-a-kind wildlife oddities are described to you via a life-like animatronic hunter, and make sure to stop by and see “Grandpa” on the front porch for more animated conservation messages and turkey tales.

The Dave Harrelson Memorial Theater also depicts a vibrant spring turkey hunt in the woods through sound, sight and light, and you can try your hand at imitating the sounds of a wild turkey using various turkey calls as you stand inside the world’s largest box call!

More than 100 spectacularly-crafted wild turkey calls are on display at the museum, including many from legendary call makers Neil Cost and M.L. Lynch. These world-class works of folk art have received numerous awards at the NWTF’s annual Convention and Sport Show and are on display in the newest wing of the Winchester Museum for you to enjoy.

Outside the Winchester Museum you’ll find the 120-acre Outdoor Education Center, which includes a series of nature trails, a pond habitat site and pavilion. The area provides the perfect setting for school field trips and other educational opportunities. The Outdoor Education Center's pavilion and trails are open to the public.

The NWTF Winchester Museum is located at 770 Augusta Road along Highway 25 in Edgefield at the NWTF Wild Turkey Center. The museum is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed on weekends and national holidays. Admission to the museum and the adjoining Outdoor Education Center is free, and guided tours of the museum are available by appointment. For more information, contact Stephanie Drennan, Interpretive Programs Coordinator at (803) 637-3106 or visit our web site at www.nwtf.org/wild_turkey_center.html

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